Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

David J. Drobes, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Joel K. Thompson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas H. Brandon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vani Nath Simmons, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joseph A. Vandello, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Brent J. Small, Ph.D.


E-cigarettes, youth, attitudes, expectancies, health communication


Over the last decade, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) have emerged as novel and popular nicotine delivery devices. Although many smokers use e-cigarettes, evidence suggests these products are also growing in popularity among young adult non-smokers. It is therefore important to examine factors that may contribute to onset of electronic cigarette use among young adult non-smokers. Critics and supporters of electronic cigarettes have been disseminating anti and pro e-cigarette messages (respectively) and it is currently unclear what effect, if any, these messages exert on young adult non-smokers. Critics of electronic cigarettes advocate caution towards these products, while supporters of electronic cigarettes argue these products can serve as healthier replacements for conventional cigarettes. The present study sought to investigate the influence of caution and replacement messages on young adult non-smokers’ dispositions towards future e-cigarette use. Two hundred and four young-adult non-smokers participated in a between subjects single session design where they viewed one of three possible audiovisual presentations (a caution message, replacement message or control message). After viewing the presentation, participants completed measures and tasks assessing their likelihood of future e-cigarette use, including willingness and intention to try e-cigarettes, as well as a measure of e-cigarette outcome expectancies. Results indicated the caution message decreased self-reported willingness to use e-cigarettes and was associated with higher negative and lower positive e-cigarette expectancies. The replacement message did not influence self-reported willingness and intention to use e-cigarettes but was associated with decreases in negative e-cigarette expectancies. These findings suggest that public health e-cigarette messages could be developed to simultaneously advocate using e-cigarettes as a smoking alternative and caution against e-cigarette use for individuals not already dependent on nicotine.